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India plans to significantly increase Vande Bharat Express EMUs production

10 February 2022
Reading time ~ 4 min
Vande Bharat Express EMU departs from New Delhi Railway Station, India
Vande Bharat Express EMU departs from New Delhi Railway Station, India. Source:
Belov Sergey, Editor-in-Chief, ROLLINGSTOCK Agency
Reading time ~ 4 min
Litvintsova Olga, Editor of International Projects, ROLLINGSTOCK Agency

India: Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman announced the allocation of 2.45 trln INR ($32.8 bln USD) from the national budget for the railway transport development in 2022-2023.

The funds will also be used to build 400 Vande Bharat EMUs over the next 3 years, which will be designed to operate at a maximum speed of 160 km/h. According to, this will provide an order for the Indian railway industry in the amount of 400 bln INR ($5.3 bln USD) and create more than 15,000 additional jobs. At the same time, Sudhanshu Mani, the former head of the Integral Coach Factory (ICF, the manufacturing division of Indian Railways) manufacturer and one of the Vande Bharat’s innovators, believes that for a period of 3 years, a production volume of 100-150 trains would be more realistic.

Vande Bharat Express or Train 18 is the first Indian electric train of domestic design and production, which was developed as part of the Make in India localization program by the ICF plant in Chennai. It was stated that the cost of one EMU is $13 mln USD, which is 40% cheaper than an analogue of European production. The level of localization was 80%.

At the presentation of the Vande Bharat Express EMU, February 2019 At the presentation of the Vande Bharat Express EMU, February 2019. Source:

The first Vande Bharat Express EMU was put into operation in February 2019. During the trials, it reached a speed of 180 km/h, which made it the fastest train in the country. However, due to the unpreparedness of the infrastructure for the operation at high speeds, the speed of the EMU is limited to 130 km/h.

At the moment, 2 such trains are in operation in the country. As of November 2021, it was reported that the bodies of at least five new trains were in the final stages of production, with the electronics to be installed over the next few months. It was reported about the plans to produce 45 EMUs in 2021-2022, but mass production was stopped due to disputes over the project. The Covid-19 pandemic also played a role in this.

In January 2021, Indian Railways awarded domestic Medho Servo Drives company a $289 mln USD contract to develop, manufacture and supply power units and other electrical components for 44 Vande Bharat Express 16-car EMUs and service them for 5 years. Since 2013, Medho Servo Drives has been operating a joint venture with a major European manufacturer – Traktionssysteme: the partners have their own production in India. The only foreign participant, CRRC, took part in the competition. However, its application was rejected on the basis of Make in India program, according to which a foreign bidder could be restricted from participating in the competition if Indian companies were also restricted from participating in tenders in another country.

The complication of CRRC’s work in the Indian market takes place against the sharpened territorial disputes between India and China. At the end of January this year, it became known that CRRC had problems with the implementation of another $119 mln contract for the supply of 216 metro cars for Bangalore Metro Rail (BMRCL). CRRC is delaying deliveries, and BMRCL attributed this to the fact that the Chinese producer was unable to find local manufacturers willing to localize the assembly of cars within the country (the contract stipulates that 204 cars must be manufactured in India).